John Brodeur – Tiger Pop: Songs by John Brodeur

John Brodeur
Tiger Pop: Songs by John Brodeur

Ducks are wonderful creatures. Some people would even go so far as to say that ducks are some of the greatest animals on Earth. Ducks seem to be so popular because of their quirky cuteness, thanks to characteristics like their webbed feet, their hopelessly adorable waddles, and the wonderful way they sometimes talk to themselves with muted ‘quacks.’
So, what does this have to do with an album of Tiger Pop? Well, John Brodeur’s latest release is on Mr. Duck Records. Associating a compact disc with a duck is quite a tall order, since a mediocre CD just won’t do in a case like this. Association with a duck is generally accepted as an association with greatness; thus, such a self-made association could be considered as blasphemous, as it would take a pretty marvelous piece of music making to stand up to duck standards.
Thus, the main question here becomes, “Does Mr. Brodeur’s current record measure up to the standards of the almighty duck?” Since comparing ducks and compact discs is a relatively unexplored phenomenon, two weeks of exhaustive and extensive research about ducks and Tiger Pop were necessary. The most obvious characteristic of all varieties of ducks is the fact that they are all very, very cute. John Brodeur can be cute, too, and he proves it on the album’s opening track, “Infected (So in Love With You).” The song’s upbeat pop cadence is accentuated with acoustic rhythms and sweetly dreamy ‘shimmering’ guitars, all decorated with candy-coated keyboard pieces. When Brodeur croons “And when there’s nothing on the radio, I dream of you / You are the sweetest song / I sing along to you,” it’s as charming as a duck nibbling on bare toes.
Another characteristic of ducks is their uncanny ability to fly. While Brodeur’s disc couldn’t actually physically take flight, the CD’s hard plastic casing protected the all-important compact disc itself from flight mishaps as well as kitchen sinks (much like a duck’s feathers would protect it from the elements). Brodeur’s music is much more capable than the actual disc and packaging itself, getting incredibly smooth hangtime with the sugary “Aaaahhhhh” backing vocals of “Dying for Me,” which push the already soaring chorus to close-up cloudgazing heights.
Many ducks can be found in very rural, country-town areas, and Brodeur shows his country roots with the acoustic drawl and Memphis slide of “Sucker.” Also, anyone who has spent anytime watching a duck walk knows that ducks got soul! Yup, all the way from the top of their bobbing heads, right down through their craning necks and to the tip of those groovy webbed feet, ducks have a certain style of rhythm that’s all their own. Brodeur shows his understanding of groove on the soulfully hard-rocking “Sucker,” where thick organ parts mesh with crisp, jangly rhythm guitars to create a wonderful duck-walk vibe.
Not all of the comparisons are so golden, however. Ducks tend to stay with the same mate for life, and lyrics such as “Yeah – You can’t be lovers, you can’t be friends.I’ve heard it before; it’s a load of crap” (from “Changing Your Mind – Again?”) show that Mr. Brodeur hasn’t exactly had the best of luck during molting season. Still, the only obvious faltering point of Tiger Pop is Brodeur’s ill advised ‘acoustic interlude,’ “Kitten,” which actually pays tribute to a well-known natural enemy of the duck.
All in all, Brodeur’s Tiger Pop compares quite favorably with our fine-feathered friends. While nothing in the world could ever take the place of a soft duck, Tiger Pop does manage to come in a respectable second. In all seriousness, placing the somewhat aimless “Kitten” directly in the middle of the album disturbs the otherwise seamless album continuity. Still, overall, Tiger Pop is still quite a nice guitar pop-oriented listening experience. Recommended.